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Gainesville City Council to decide on 5 major projects
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Running a city isn’t cheap.

That’s especially true for a city-run public utilities department.

Gainesville City Council will vote next week on five projects for the Public Utilities Department, ranging from sewer improvements to pipe relocation for road construction, totaling $3.1 million dollars.

The projects will be paid for through the department’s capital improvement program, which is funded through water and sewer service collections.

While city officials say that each of these projects is necessary — some even required — the price tag of this lump of projects highlights the magnitude of fiscal decisions by local government.

“We’re only going to spend a dollar or two,” joked Councilwoman Myrtle Figueras sarcastically on Thursday.

Two of the biggest projects require moving pipes and other utilities for Georgia Department of Transportation
road upgrades.

When DOT makes repairs or improvements to the road near utility pipes, Gainesville Public Utilities has to get those out of the way to accommodate the work — and it doesn’t get reimbursed.

“This is just one of the expenditures you have to make,” said City Councilman Bob Hamrick.

City Council will vote on setting aside about $796,000 for accommodating road-widening at Ga. 347/Friendship and Thompson Mill roads and an estimated $1.5 million would go toward pipes that will be replaced when DOT replaces Clarks Bridge.

The City Council will also consider granting a bid to replace or repair water mains and manholes for the city sewers.

Manholes deteriorate naturally from the bacteria in gases that flow through them, said Joel Altherr, the cities project manager.

The price tag for that work will be $753,000.

Considered an enterprise fund, the city’s Public Utilities Department has a self-sufficient budget with oversight from City Council. These kinds of capital projects don’t come directly from tax revenues, but instead from charges for water and sewage service.

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